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Page last updated at 22:14 GMT, Thursday, 19 November 2009

Lewsey criticism garbage - Cueto

International: England v New Zealand
Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday 21 November Kick-off: 1430 GMT
Coverage: Live on Sky Sports 2, BBC Radio 5 live, highlights on BBC Three at 1900 and BBC Two at 1130 on Sunday. Text commentary on BBC Sport website

Mark Cueto and Josh Lewsey played alongside each other for England
Cueto and Lewsey were team-mates for England for several years

England's Mark Cueto and Joe Worsley have hit back at their former international team-mate Josh Lewsey after his criticism of coaching staff.

Former Wasps back Lewsey was highly critical of assistant coaches Brian Smith, Mike Ford and John Wells in an interview with a newspaper on Tuesday.

England scraped a win over Argentina after a lacklustre defeat by Australia.

But Cueto told Radio 5 live: "To see Josh writing some of that stuff in the paper was shocking. It's garbage."

Lewsey, who has retired from rugby and is planning to climb Mount Everest next year, told the Evening Standard: "Just look at what London Irish have done since Brian Smith left and he didn't achieve anything at Test level when he played.

I've had two phone calls from successful ex-England coaches, three phone calls from ex-England captains saying, 'Well done, something needed to be said'

Josh Lewsey

"Mike Ford didn't win anything, while John Wells never played international rugby. Wells' achievements as a coach are terrible and what justifies these people keeping their jobs?

"England are the best resourced and biggest union in the world, yet Wales have greater playing depth and coaches."

But Cueto, who delivered a solid performance against Argentina last weekend when he switched from wing to full-back halfway through, said: "It's tough when you're getting criticised at times and seeing ex-players criticising like they do.

"You just expect it at this level. Regardless of how you play, you're going to be criticised.

"If we win by 20 points, the press will find something to criticise us for. Ultimately, you're exposed to what people say and write."

Worsley, who came on as a second-half replacement at Twickenham, joked that Lewsey "may have had altitude sickness or something" - a reference to his training for Everest.


"Josh is quite outspoken and always has been and just likes to get his opinion across," said Worsley.

"He's out of the frame now so he can say what he likes, but this is my team: the coaching staff, the fitness staff, the medical team and all the players. We are one and we stick up for each other."

Speaking to 5 live on Thursday, Lewsey clarified his comments, saying: "You can't blame the players entirely.

"Some of those guys are good coaches - I think John Wells is a very good coach and he had success at club level - but my question is, 'Are they the best coaches?'

"England being the biggest union in the world, with the player resources we have, we should have the best coaches and that's what my point was.

"I didn't say anything against the players. I've had two phone calls from successful ex-England coaches, three phone calls from ex-England captains saying, 'Well done, something needed to be said.'

"What I think is really sad is, why did it have to be said? What qualifies you to actually coach the national team? You just want the best guys in there for the job.

"Those guys are good coaches, John especially had enormous success with Leicester and I respect him and like him as a guy, but you just have to look at results.

"Sadly the results over the last few years would show they haven't had the performances and won trophies. If we really want England to be the best team in the world we need to have the very best coaches."

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see also
Coaches insist England are united
17 Nov 09 |  English
England call-up for Erinle & Shaw
18 Nov 09 |  English
Jeremy Guscott Q&A
17 Nov 09 |  Rugby Union
De Malmanche gets All Blacks call
17 Nov 09 |  Rugby Union
Johnson losing patience with team
14 Nov 09 |  English
England 16-9 Argentina
14 Nov 09 |  English
Italy 6-20 New Zealand
14 Nov 09 |  Rugby Union
England 9-18 Australia
07 Nov 09 |  Rugby Union
Wales 12-19 New Zealand
07 Nov 09 |  Welsh

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